Meeting 3: Tours, France

Phonology and Lexicon

October, 2016. Location: Tours, France.

> See the detailed program

The Phonological Theory Agora (PTA) aims at being a platform for debate on theoretical issues. We do so (among other things) by organizing yearly venues where phonologists can meet to discuss recent advances as well as issues in phonological theory. We are not devoted to any specific theory and welcome contributions from any theoretical stance.


This 2016 venue will take place in Tours on October 14th and 15th.
There will be two days divided into three sessions.
Day 1: The symposium will be devoted to the relation between Phonology and the Lexicon.
Presentations will be short (5-10 minutes), and discussion after those relatively long (25-20 minutes). Potential speakers are invited to only (a) make a claim, and (b) give some key arguments for it. Although it is not impossible to support the position with empirical material, the emphasis should be on the implications for phonological theory at large.
In the morning of the first day, there will be a tutorial by Ricardo Bermudez-Otero and Donca Steriade on Phonology and the Lexicon.
Day 2: There will be a workshop whose goal is to promote discussion and theory-oriented debate in an original way: a data set will be defined that everybody works on to show how it could be analysed in different theories.

Day 1 - Topics


This tutorial will consist of two parts.

Part I (the review) will survey the wide range of opinion concerning the contents of the lexicon in contemporary phonological theory. Questions to be addressed include the following:

  • (i) Do lexical representations contain fine phonetic detail, as argued by the proponents of Exemplar Theory, or do they consist of discrete symbols, as assumed in classical modular architectures of grammar?
  • (ii) Does the lexicon store single underlying representations, in line with a long tradition dating back at least to Hockett's "theoretical base forms", or does it rather contain sets of surface allomorphs, as asserted in certain implementations of OO-correspondence and in certain versions of Word-and-Paradigm morphology?
  • (iii) Relatedly, just what type of linguistic expressions have phonological representations in the lexicon? Minimal morphemes? Stems and affixes? Words? Larger items?
  • (iv) In theories assuming underlying representations consisting of discrete categories, what information is lexically stored? Only phonologically unpredictable information? Or some redundant information too? If the latter, does this include prosody?

Arguments over these questions turn out to draw on an extremely wide variety of evidence, including internal patterns of distribution and alternation, learnability considerations, psycholinguistic data, and processes of acquisition and change.

Part II (the debate) will focus specifically on the implications for lexical representation of patterns of multiple paradigmatic dependency: e.g. so-called "split-base formations". French prenominal adjectives provide a well-known example in non-normative masculine liaison forms such as [pʁəmjeʁ] in [pʁəmjeʁ ami] "first friend". Here, the final consonant is predictable from the feminine form [pʁəmjɛʁ], and the preceding vowel resembles that of the masculine citation form [pʁəmje]. The debate will pitch approaches to multiple paradigmatic dependencies based on OO-correspondence and lexical conservatism (Steriade 1999) against more traditional analyses relying on underlying representations (Bermúdez-Otero forthcoming).

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. forthcoming. In defence of underlying representations: French adjectival liaison and Romanian morphological palatalization. Probus.

Steriade, Donca. 1999. Lexical conservatism in French adjectival liaison. In J.-Marc Authier, Barbara E. Bullock & Lisa Reid (eds.), Formal perspectives on Romance linguistics: selected papers from the 28th Linguistic Symposium on Romance languages (LSRL XXVIII), University Park, 16-19 April 1998 (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 185), 243-70. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.


Day 2 - Data set
The data set and instructions for use are here (PDF).



Day 1: October 14th

Day 2: October 15th


10-12 : Tutorial « Phonology and the Lexicon»
by Ricardo Bermudez-Otero and Donca Steriade


10-12 : Data set workshop


12-13 : Business meeting


1:30-6 : « Make a claim and defend it »

7/8 speakers, 30 mn each -  a claim on an issue connected with the main topic (10mn) + discussion (agora 20mn)





Abstracts for the "Make a claim and defend it" session and / or the "Data set workshop" should be 1 page max.; the presentation is not supposed to contain substantially more information than the abstract.
  • Anonymous abstracts should be submitted before August 1st, 2016 to pta(at)
  • Notification of acceptance by the end of August, 2016.
=> If you need more information please contact Nicola Lampitelli at nicola.lampitelli(at)